Town Hall Meeting – 2nd Quarter 2024

Over 60 people gathered to enjoy a meal, hear from our Leadership Board and ask questions in our second Town Hall of 2024, which took place in Fellowship Hall after the 10:30 Worship Service on Sunday, June 30, 2024.

The Joyful Gathering Team prepared a wonderful lunch, featuring three of our favorite picnic foods, according to a recent Sunday morning Question of the Day: hot dogs (with a vegetarian option), potato salad, watermelon and a vegetable tray. 

Leadership Board Chair, Alan Scheufler opened remarks by drawing everyone’s attention to our Vision Frame, emphasizing how our new governance model focuses on our vision and values as the guiding framework.  He recommended that everyone read Pastor Heidi’s column, and Julie Kubek’s Leadership Board report in the July Good Word newsletter for additional perspectives about how Leadership Board is functioning in a new way.

Pastor Heidi Welch gave us an update on our Long Term Church Goals:

  • Long Term Goal #1: Develop a discipleship pathway and help 50 people take their next step in discipleship.
    • Pastor Heidi, Jenny Gee (Director of Education) and Dana Schwendeman (Director of Youth Ministry) are developing the steps in the pathway.  How do we help people move along the path, no matter where they are on their journey of faith? 
    • One immediate step we can take is to take attendance at all church events. This is one way we can better understand where people are engaging in discipleship. What is the next step from there?
  • Long Term Goal  #2: Establish new and deeper relationships with 100 people from our communities; listening to gain understanding, discovering new ideas, and letting people know we care.
    • We are looking for ways to develop new and deeper relationships with people in our communities. 
    • Learning needs and resources in the community.
    • Connecting with others.  One example was Pastor Heidi serving as a chaperone on the 8th Grade field trip to Washington DC and how she was able to get to know her roommate.

Pastor Heidi also gave an update about General Conference

  • The United Methodist Church is the trusted resource for news and information.  Visit this site specifically for information about General Conference
  • One decision that came out of General Conference is that same gender weddings are no longer prohibited within our denomination.
    • The Leadership of each local church make the decision. No church will be forced to officiate same gender weddings.
    • Clergy of the local church have always had the final call about whether or not to marry any couple.
      • We get to know the people first before making that decision. 
      • The wedding page on our website outline the steps people take and the ways that the couple and the church decide if we are a good fit for each other.
      • If they are not regular attenders, couples are encouraged to come to church to get to know us. 
    • Our Leadership Board had great conversations around the decision – our first major decision under the new governance model:
      • Does allowing same gender weddings fit our vision framework? The decision was unanimous.  Yes.
      • Our values directed us to that decision.
      • We did the hard work 10 years ago. We are so far ahead of most other churches.

Question asked: If we are assigned a new pastor and that person is not supportive of same-gender weddings, but Leadership Board is in favor, what happens?
Answer: Bottom line, we would not be assigned a pastor whose values do not align with ours. Our values are well known.

A finance update was shared by Eric Louttit:

  • We started year with a budget deficit of $54,000.
  • As of end of May, we are $18,000 behind budget.
  • Eric grew up in, a large Methodist Church in Pittsburgh. His mother still attends there and was sharing with him that they are facing budget woes as well and the church had been forced to make dramatic cuts, including laying off their senior music director.  But, she said, they were having a “Close the Budget Gap” campaign that was giving everyone some hope and she shared the idea with us.  Members of the congregation are being asked to “adopt” or “sponsor” different expenses. We are trying that.  Coupons have been included in the July issue of the Good Word.  If you’re moved to help, choose an expense to sponsor and help us close the budget gap.  

Leadership Board member and Alternative Revenue Team member, Matt Gabor, talked about some upcoming projects which may also help us close the budget gap.

  • BUMC Flea Market, Saturday August 10.  Vendors will rent space in our parking lot or Fellowship Hall and we will host a concession stand.  Anyone with yard sale type items to sell, crafters, gardeners, hobbyists are all encouraged to participate. Those that donate their proceeds to the church get their space for free.  It’s a community-wide event that won’t require a lot of staff or volunteer time, as vendors bring in their stuff the morning of the sale and take it home at the end.
    • Questions: 
      • How do we make money from the flea market? Vendors rent tables or spaces.  The fee is waived if you donate your proceeds to the church.
      • Do we need donations for the concession stand? Yes.
      • Can we get a donation truck to come here that day to accept donations of items that do not sell? That’s a great idea! We will look into it! Would appreciate any leads!
      • Where will people park, if we’re setting up in the parking lot? We will have designated parking areas and signs directing people.  Having vendors set up in the parking lot will attract passers by, we hope!
      • What if it rains?  It’s a rain or shine event!
      • How do you set up in a parking space?  Anyway you want!  A 10’ x 10’ tent will fit.  You can park your car or U-haul and sell out of our trunk, if you want.
      • The Vendor Application form is open now!
  • Marketing our classroom and other rental spaces.  The team is working on taking photographs of our spaces and adding them to our website so we can better “advertise” available spaces for room rental and area where we feel we may be able to generate alternative revenue.  

One last thing – Vacation Bible School in the Park is July 8 – 12 and we are in need of old, clean t-shirts for a craft.  Plain, light colored t’s are preferred, but need over 100 of them so any will do! Bring them to the donation box on the first floor. 

Save the date for the next Leadership Board Townhall – Sunday, Oct 6, 2024.